Nation, State, and Citizenship

Aug 23, 2014, 0:27
At CPAC 2014, Ann Coulter (left) called for nativist death squads, while white nationalist Robert Vandervoort (right) was allowed to bring his nativist English-only outfit back to the conference.

The Unbearable Whiteness of CPAC

Friday, 21 March 2014 15:17

For years, white nationalists found themselves on the outside looking in, faces pressed against the glass to get a glimpse at the movement happenings at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). But the times they are a changing. Not since Pat Buchanan’s racially-tinged insurgent campaign at the 1992 conference have white nationalists found a more hospitable environment in the halls of CPAC.

With the rise of the Tea Party, the doors to CPAC flew open wide in 2010. The same year that CPAC gave the “Ronald Reagan Award” to the Tea Party movement, the far-right John Birch Society, a group kept outside for decades, was allowed to co-sponsor the event for the first time. Others on the far-right were welcomed into the fold, and racist rhetoric about president Obama was allowed center stage. Just like that, CPAC became a white nationalist friendly zone.

Despite a more tightly controlled platform this year, the annual conservative confab did little to disabuse white nationalists of the notion that they were at home, particularly when leaders expressed racially-charged rhetoric and calls for nativist “death squads” were met with raucous cheers from the floor.

A  Brief History of Nativism: Part Three

A Brief History of Nativism: Part Three

Friday, 24 January 2014 15:52
This is the third installment in a special seven-part series "A Brief History of Nativism: Anti-Immigrant Bigotry in the American Past", providing an overview of these major movements, as well as the accompanying shifts in American immigration policy and their consequences. The first installment, "Colonial Dreams and Independent Reactions" is available here. The Second installment, "Knowing Nothing in Antebellum America" is available here.

A banner of the Know Nothings.

A Brief History of Nativism: Part Two

Thursday, 10 October 2013 02:13

This is the second installment in a special seven-part series "A Brief History of Nativism: Anti-Immigrant Bigotry in the American Past", providing an overview of these major movements, as well as the accompanying shifts in American immigration policy and their consequences. The first installment,  "Colonial Dreams and Independent Reactions" is available here.

A Brief History of Nativism 

Part II: Knowing Nothing in Antebellum America

When the first United States Congress met at Federal Hall in New York City (pictured above)  the second piece of legislation passed in the second session codified racial discrimination into immigration policy

A Brief History of Nativism: Part One

Wednesday, 09 October 2013 14:20

A Brief History of Nativism: Anti-Immigrant Bigotry in the American Past

Often thought of as a nation of immigrants, at times the United States has also been a nation of nativists. Nativism, the fear of and hostility toward immigrants or other perceived "aliens," has been a mainstay of the American political landscape, even if xenophobic agitating has at times receded. At times, the U.S has been a refuge for the "homeless, tempest-tost." At other times, Americans have lashed out against newcomers, and made them the victims of mob violence, discriminatory legislation, and populist demagoguery. Both inclusiveness and nativism date to the founding of the country.

Air War: The Anti-Immigrant Establishment’s Battle Plan

Air War: The Anti-Immigrant Establishment’s Battle Plan

Tuesday, 01 October 2013 17:53

Conventional wisdom suggests there are two distinct elements of modern campaigns: the “ground game,” the ability of campaigns to organize and mobilize supporters to get out and engage in the fight; and the “air war,” the money poured into advertising and other passive means of persuading voters to support a campaign. Finding the elusive balance between the two is said to be the key to winning.

In this latest round in battle over comprehensive immigration reform, the anti-immigrant establishment has largely conceded the ground game. One reason: their base of support evaporated.

Residents of Watertown, Mass. on the streets after arrest of the second suspect.

The Boston Marathon Bombing: A Personal Statement

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 02:00

The senseless murder and mayhem in Boston has left me speechless.  Initially, I refused to speculate about who did it, despite repeated requests to do so.  I pointed to the wildly mistaken guesses about the Texas murders, when people who should have known better talked as if the Aryan Brotherhood were the perpetrators, sure thing.  It turned out to be anything but.  In this case, as a friend wrote me, “Chechens, who knew?” I certainly did not.

Western States Center's 2012 AMP Conference

Taking On the Tea Party: It's Our Time Now

Tuesday, 21 August 2012 13:00

On July 28, 2012, IREHR's Devin Burghart gave a keynote speech at the Western States Center's annual training and skills conference, AMP, an event that drew over 400 activists and organizers from states across the west. Devin used the occasion to remind the attendees of lessons past and to talk about the tasks everyone faces today. This speech is a most powerful indictment of the Tea Party movement, and a call for people of good will—no matter what their principal issue of concern—to understand that the Tea Party movement must be actively opposed by us all.

Inside the Kansas State Capitol Building

A Look Back and a Look Forward for Immigrant Rights Advocates in Kansas

Sunday, 19 August 2012 21:38

Kansas passed an instate tuition policy that provided higher educational opportunities for immigrant students in 2004. Many people outside the state were puzzled, wondering how Kansas could join the ranks of New York and California in taking such a progressive stance. In subsequent years, Democrat and Republican lawmakers turned back repeated attempts to repeal this signature legislation. By joining forces, alliances formed between lawmakers from both parties. They took ownership of the policy that facilitated the education of young immigrants, understanding that it was in the best interests of the state.

When Kris Kobach, an anti-immigrant attorney with a long history of working for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, was elected Secretary of State in 2010, many believed that the legislative coalition that had passed and protected the pro-education measure was doomed. Indeed, Kobach had once sued the state, unsuccessfully, in opposition to this legislation. Kobach's plans to bring an Arizona-style anti-immigrant hardline to the state seemed inevitable. Instead, Kobach was rebuffed two legislative sessions in a row. He failed to have passed even limited pilots programs of e-verify, a measure that supposedly 'cracks down' on unauthorized employment.